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Wed, 11.24.1954

Theodore Shaw, Lawyer, and Educator born

Theodore Shaw

*Theodore Shaw was born on this date in 1954.  He is a Black lawyer, activist, and educator. 

Theodore Michael Shaw is the son of Theodore and Jean Audrey Churchill Shaw. He was born on Governors Island and raised in Harlem and the Bronx, NY. He received his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1976 and his J.D. degree from the Columbia University School of Law in 1979, where he was a Charles Evans Hughes Fellow.  Shaw began his legal career as a Trial Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division from 1979 to 1982.

Shaw was the fifth Director-Counsel and President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., for which he worked in various capacities over twenty-six years.  In addition to his position on the faculty of Columbia Law School, he taught at the University of Michigan Law School from 1990 to 1993 and has also held rotating chairs at Temple and CUNY Law Schools. While at Michigan, Shaw played a key role in initiating a review of the law school's admissions policies and practices upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 in Grutter v. Bollinger. He was a visiting scholar at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia from 2008-09. 

Shaw has testified several times before Congress and state and local legislators. He has authored numerous opinion pieces and articles.  Shaw is a frequent guest on local and national television and radio. He has also trained, worked, and consulted with human rights attorneys in Africa, Europe, South America, and Asia. 

He currently serves on the Boards of The Equal Rights Trust (London, England), Common Sense, The International Center for Transitional Justice, the American Constitution Society, the Wesleyan University Center for Prison Education, the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, The New Press, and the Board of Deacons of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York.  Shaw is a Trustee Emeritus of Wesleyan University. 

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There is a tree, by day, That, at night, Has a shadow, A hand huge and black, With fingers long and black, All through the dark, Against the white man's house, In the little wind, The black... TENEBRIS by Angelina weld Grimke’.
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